Most people won’t believe you when you tell them that librarians can play a role that could prove vital to getting you published. The image of a cranky woman at a desk persists—but most don’t realize that behind that woman is a world of resources that could pave the way to success. It’s never too early to start working in the library, especially if you’re serious about becoming published. Beyond helping you research for your novel or help provide the tools to physically write your novel, librarians also know the process and steps that need to be taken to ensure that you get an agent, and a contact with a publishing house. Below are several ways you can utilize the library for your benefit:
- Talk to your librarian about resources to agents. There’s several things on your to-do list if you’re nearing the end of your writing stage, and the best thing about the library is that there’s someone there ready to alleviate some of that burden. For example, most libraries have a subscription to reference material such as books that collect agents and their contact information. Having one collection of all big time agents and the kind of submissions they accept, plus their terms as an agent is incredibly helpful for any pending-author.
Likewise, there is a great deal of online resources available to those who are looking to self-publish. Librarians have experience when it comes to self-publishing, or at the very minimum, have experience researching different methods of self-publishing. Before asking for help narrowing down the focus on self-publishing, you should create a list of things you want and things you are willing to compromise on. This way, your local librarian has a sample of what she’s looking for and can really use her time wisely during the search.
- Attend book signings. More times than not, there is a library near you that hosts book signings, or book events where there will either be a local author or a big-time author talking about their latest book. These events are huge for potential authors. Whether it’s someone who is a no-name, or someone with personal body guards, these book events prove the perfect place to network. Agents sometimes go to libraries to look for new authors, and developing a relationship with an agent is vital to progressing forward. Even if an agent doesn’t come to the book event, you have access to someone who is already published, and thus can give you some pointers in the right direction. Don’t be shy—take these opportunities to talk to authors and get the background knowledge of how you can best get your work published.
- Give back. The best thing to do when it comes to becoming published is to give back. This is especially important when it comes to self-publishing. The main concern for those looking to make money from self-publishing is the amount of time it takes to promote and talk-up your new novel. Here’s where the library will do you a great favor. Offer to donate a copy of your book to the library, offer to do a free or discounted author visit and book signing. These may look counterintuitive to making money, but in exchange for a free service, your local librarian will promote your book to patrons, who in turn will tell their friends about your book, or go out and buy it themselves. It also puts you in the same room as people you may want to network with, and further promote your work.
Regardless of what you think is best for your future as an author, it’s undeniable that your librarian should be on your radar. Utilize their knowledge and their connections within the publishing world, and never forget to give back to the library at all turns. Once you show your true colors, librarians will be more likely to help out in the future, and work on your side all along the process of getting published. There’s an entire world of resources and networking right at your fingertips—all you need to do is befriend your local librarian.